AmCAT Version
This page describes a feature in AmCAT 3.4
View other version: 3.3 - 3.4 - 3.5

A codebook is a set of answer categories that can be assigned to one or more variables in a coding scheme. For example, a list of news topics is a codebook for the variable 'topic', and a list of politicians and political organizations could be a codebook for the variable 'source'.

To make a codebook, first, pick 'codebooks' from the dropdown menu that appears when you click the 'Codings' tab on top of the screen.

  • Click on the 'Create new codebook' in the next screen (the codebooks overview) to create a new codebook within AmCAT. Alternatively, you can upload a codebook from a CSV file or borrow a codebook from another project using the corresponding buttons. This wiki however focuses on how to create a new codebook from scratch.
  • First, change the codebook name to something easily recognizable by clicking on the 'Edit codebook name' button.
  • Then, hover the cursor over the codebook name, and a little star icon appears. Click on this to add a new code, that is, one answer option for a particular variable, to the codebook. The other codes can be added in the same way: hover over the codebook name to make the star icon appear again, and click on it to add an additional code.

You can also add additional codes ('children') below existing codes ('parents') and create a hierarchically structured codebook.


In this example, 'terrorism' is a topic on the same level as other topics in the codebook, such as 'EU' or 'refugee crisis'. 'Middle East' is one level below 'terrorism', that is, it represents one area where terrorism can occur and as such is a more detailed level of coding. If you are interested in the 'terrorism' topic specifically, you can extract the codings from AmCAT on this detailed level, but if not, you can also choose to aggregate all codings coded with the codes under the 'terrorism' parent to the parent level.

To add child codes to parent codes, hover over the parent and click the star icon.

Remember: if you want to create a simple, non-hierarchical codebook, add codes from codebook name, NOT from other codes in the codebook!

You can use your new codebook in a coding scheme.

Editing codebooks[edit]

You can always edit codebooks later, using the icons that appear when you hover the cursor over a code.


  • Using the crossed arrows you can move the code in a different position within a hierarchical codebook. That is, you can give it a different parent code. Click on the icon first, then click on the code that should be the code's parent.
  • The eye icon hides the code, so coders cannot use it in the Annotator. Click the icon again to make the code reappear.
  • The star adds a new code (‘child’) below the selected code (‘parent’) to create a hierarchically structured codebook.
  • The label allows you to edit the name of the code, or add labels to the code in different languages.
  • Using the arrows you can move the code one position up or down in the codebook. If you want to re-order the entire codebook, use the buttons on top of the screen to the right of 'Download codebook'. Here, you can sort the codebook by alphabet or by code ID (that is, older codes are placed on top of the list).

The ‘Download codebook’ button on top of the screen downloads the codebook as an Excel, CSV or SPSS file.

AmCAT Version
This page describes a feature in AmCAT
View other version: 3.3 - 3.4 - 3.5